We had arranged, some time ago, that our good friends Julian Critchlow and his partner Lucy would come down to have lunch in the garden, anticipating a warm sunny day. However, last night I had one of my nauseous attacks and knew that if I felt like that the following day I would not be able to cope with a lunch party. Fortunately Lucy and Julian fully understood and were quite prepared to come down and spend half an hour or so with me. As it turned out the weather was changeable, chilly and wet. So we decided to confine the visit to my study. The only regret being that Julian could not smoke his very big cigars as Alice has a strict no smoking in the house policy In the 50 min or so. They were with us. I was able to offer Julian a glass of his favourite Bollinger -Lucy, doing the driving, had to miss out – which was gratefully received.
Talking of Bollinger, Julian with his characteristic generosity, brought me a very special bottle indeed. It is La Grande Annee, 2002 vintage Rose
I was also determined to extract answer from Julian as to when he realistically thought he could finish his element of updating my book, bearing in mind we are already more than 12 months past the original date promised to the publishers. Julian, with his hand on his heart, promised it would all be finished by the autumn. I tried to tie him down to my birthday on August 18, but realistically Julian could not commit himself to the date. Assuming Julian is right and the draft book is delivered to the publishers in say late October and early November we will be looking at a spring publication, somewhere around our Golden Wedding Anniversary, on March 18, 2013.
After lunch we turned on the men’s final at Wimbledon. I wonder whether anyone else has noticed it or perhaps the change occurred a year or two before and I had failed to notice it. When I am referring to is that we now have the
Gentleman’s singles final, whereas previously it had been ‘the Men’s‘. At the same time, I believe, that the female matches have always been shown as’ the Ladies singles, etc. Of course, if, as I believe was the case the commentators on record books referred to the Men’s matches as such, then clearly the matching gender would be Women’s matches, whereas I believe, as former as I can recall they have always been referred to as the Ladies matches. Someone must have noticed this anomaly and decided to correct it by referring to the Gentleman’s. matches.
I’m sorry that all sounds rather convoluted but quite simply, you either have Mens and Womens, or Gentlemen and Ladies, not, as I believe we had in the past, Men and Ladies.
As to the Men’s Final it turn out to be a gripping performance between our man, Andy Murray seeded 4 and the reigning champion, Roger Federer seeded 3. Andy Murray started off very much the underdog as no Britain has reached the Men’s final since Fred Perry, some 76 years ago. Murray started off magnificently breaking the Federer’s service on the first game. He went on to win the first set. Federer won the second and third sets with an epic battle in which both players showed us some of the finest tennis ever played at Wimbledon. Again the fourth set was strongly contested by both players but Federer cranked up his game by a notch and, in winning this set, notched up his seventh win of this championship. In the interview, which followed, an emotional Murray graciously praised his opponent and, no doubt, we hope that both will be back at Wimbledon next year and with Murray being five years younger than Federer, I believe is day will come. So indeed did an anonymous gambler, now unfortunately deceased, who placed a bet some, 5 or 6 years ago, at odds of 66-1, that Federer would win Wimbledon at least seven times. As a result he won something in the order of £150,000, which he had donated, in his will, to Oxfam.
Another greatly impressive performance was given by a couple of British lads who only got in to the competition as a wildcard, in other words they were not rated at all. But, in the end, it was these two young men who made history in winning the Men’s Double Championship, like the Singles, 76 years after the last Britons had won it. It is a strange phenomena that the Doubles matches and never attracted the following of the Singles. This is reflective in the prize money where the winning Men’s Double competitors won £130,000 each. Compare this with Federer’s winnings of £1,150,000.
After a surfeit of tennis over the last two weeks, another great event was competing for our attention. It was the procession of’ ‘the torch’ carrying the flame from Greece, from hand to hand, 300 m at a time, towards the opening ceremony in 18 days time. Was I was pretty blasé about the whole torch business, I must admit that I totally misjudged the brilliance of the interest this has sparked in all the towns and villages in which the torch was processed.
We are told that there were 8000 torchbearers who came from all walks of life, very few of them the known celebrities. No longer will thousands of people in the British Isles say that the Olympic Games were something happening in London, by their reaction, the turnout, the bunting and celebrations, which accompanied progress of this torch, thousands of Britons now feel part of the celebration for London in being chosen to put on these Games.